Turn a shut-in winter into a glorious spring vacation with these bargain destinations and the cheap airfares to get you there.
What is an international travel bargain? It’s not only a cheap airfare; it also means that once you arrive at your destination, you will find great food, culture and hotels that are so reasonably priced that running out of money halfway through the trip is not a possibility. The destinations below offer enough quaint affordability to suit even the most budget-conscious pockets.
The Cheap &Cheerful
Fly from Miami to Guatemala City from $264 and then take the local bus (shared taxis are another affordable option) to Antigua, a jewel of Spanish colonial architecture under the shadow of steaming volcanoes. Local buses crisscross the country and can be used to visit Guatemala’s impressive array of pre-Columbian pyramids and temples. The beer is cheap, the food is tasty and plentiful and the low cost pensions are quaint and full of flowers.
Panama City, Panama
You can fly from Chicago to Panama City from $500 total. Panama is the undiscovered bio-jewel of Central America, with Amerindian tribes living traditionally on islands off the coast and in the impassable jungle of the Darien gap. Spanish Colonial architecture sits alongside modern, first-class condos in Panama City, home to the Panama Canal–still one of the most marvellous wonders of the world. Panama City may not be the cheapest destination in Central America, but it’s still extremely cheap by American standards, with plenty of undiscovered paradises just a day trip away from the city centre.
Cartagena was the coveted crown jewel of the Spanish Main during the colonial era, and was once pillaged by the swashbuckling Captain Morgan for its Spanish gold. These days, Cartagena is a city of cobblestoned alleyways, Spanish colonial churches and serene Caribbean beaches. Stretch your dollar at Cartagena’s lively bars and restaurants and experience Colombia’s cheerful Caribbean side with this airfare deal from Miami.
Posh and Pocketbook-Savvy
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Buenos Aires’ nickname is ‘Paris of the Americas’, you’re just as likely to think that you’re in Barcelona, Madrid or even Milan. The Argentine capital has a bit of each one of these cities’ cultures wrapped up in its unique, Tango-laced charm. The US dollar is still strong in South America, making luxury leader goods, gourmet meals and wild nights out affordable. Fly to BA on Aerolineas Argentinas for less.
Turkey has everything Greece has and then some, except the expensive Euro. The Aegean coast of Turkey used to be part of Greece, and it still looks and feels Greek in culture and nature, a fact that has not escaped the hordes European tourists who flock to Turkey’s Aegean coves for topless sunbathing on calm sands. Take advantage of Turkish Airlines new nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul and discover the best of the Med for less.
This sacred Hindu town on the foothills of the Himalayas was the former retreat of the Maharishi and the Beatles. The Maharishi’s ashram is now in ruins and has been overtaken by the jungle, but the town of Rishikesh, bisected by the river Ganges, has to be one of the most charming in the whole of India. With the green Himalayan foothills in the background supplying fresh snowmelt, the river runs clean right past your hotel balcony. Wake up early to watch the villagers flock to its shores for morning rituals. Recharge your spiritual batteries in Rishikesh’s many ashrams, colourful markets and vegetarian restaurants. Fly into Delhi for less and then hire a driver to take you north to Rishikesh: you won’t regret it.
Next week: Spring Travel Bargains to and in Europe.